Over the last couple of weeks, intermittently, I’ve gotten a message similar to the following when attempting to send mail through my Yahoo! email account:
“Error Sending Message” Suspicious Activity” detected
After doing some research and contacting Yahoo! Mail customer support, they recommended the following
We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you have experienced. If you are seeing this error when trying to send an email, it indicates that Yahoo may have detected suspicious activity on your account, or the message you are trying to send may contain characteristics of spam.
What causes the error?
Yahoo may prevent your email messages from being sent if suspicious activity is detected in your account.
– You’ll still be able to receive messages and access your account as normal.
If you believe the error is not related to your email sending behavior, it’s possible somebody else may be using your account to send mail.
– In this case, we recommend that you immediately follow these steps to re-secure a compromised account.
If using an Android device, a message can become stuck and attempts to resend repeatedly from the mail app’s Sent folder.
– If this occurs, delete all messages from the Sent folder and try sending another email.
They went on to offer up some recommendations, one of which was changing my password.
The problem was, this did not happen to me just once. It actually happened to me 3 separate times within 1 week period. During these times, I was disallowed to send any messages.
I found a temporary work around by writing an email, saving it as draft, then completing the send from my mobile phone. Not sure why the mobile app let me continue to send email, but it did.
My only recourse to a more permanent fix was to change my password 3 times.
At the time Yahoo! did not provide any insight into what the root cause of issue REALLY was, and rather just provided their canned, ambiguous support answers.
Today I learned that Yahoo! Mail got hacked:
From Yahoo’s Tumblr
Important Security Update for Yahoo Mail Users
Security attacks are unfortunately becoming a more regular occurrence. Recently, we identified a coordinated effort to gain unauthorized access to Yahoo Mail accounts. Upon discovery, we took immediate action to protect our users, prompting them to reset passwords on impacted accounts.
Based on our current findings, the list of usernames and passwords that were used to execute the attack was likely collected from a third-party database compromise.
We have no evidence that they were obtained directly from Yahoo’s systems. Our ongoing investigation shows that malicious computer software used the list of usernames and passwords to access Yahoo Mail accounts. The information sought in the attack seems to be names and email addresses from the affected accounts’ most recent sent emails.
Username and Passwords Collected from a Third-party Database?
So, why is my Yahoo! email and password in a 3rd party database? I mean, are they sharing my account information with a 3rd party?
Are they sharing my password with them? If so, why? Wouldn’t my password be encrypted in that system? If not, why?
For me, I want to know specifically what “3rd party database” means. Is it a partner of Yahoo!? Is it an independent company with no affiliation with Yahoo!?
I don’t recall specifically entering my Yahoo! email and it’s password in any 3rd party system.
Granted, I use my Yahoo! email on a lot of accounts, and yes like others, I do use the same password for logical reasons, even though best practice would be to not do that.
At the end of the day, I would just appreciate it if Yahoo! was a bit more transparent about the root cause of the problem so I can be a more informed end-user.
Did This Happen To You? Do You Know More?
If so, let me know about it in the comments section below.